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‘The 5th Question’ — my grandson’s poem

Sunrise - photo: Menachem Rosensaft 2023
Sunrise - photo: Menachem Rosensaft 2023

The Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidism, taught that in remembrance lies the secret of redemption. But for remembrance to be meaningful, it must also be rooted in compassion and empathy.

In this spirit, I am proud to share “The 5th Question,” a poem written by my 15-year-old grandson:

The 5th Question

four children

ask questions

at the seder

“why is this night

different

from all other nights?”

this year

why is this year

different

from all other years?

the israeli child

killed on october 7th

the kidnapped

israeli hostage child

murdered by hamas

in gaza

say:

we asked questions

at the seder

last year

we cannot ask

anything

anymore

why?

the parentless

palestinian child

in gaza

says:

I am hungry

I am cold

I no longer have a home

I would like to be

somewhere safe

so I can ask

why?

the israeli child

the palestinian child

want answers

to the same question:

why?

About the Author
Adjunct professor of law at Cornell Law School and lecturer-in-law at Columbia Law School.
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